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Unleash your Automation for Cloud (Easier than you Think)

In about 2 weeks there will be a great webinar panel discussion on the business and technology architecture concerns in automating your cloud and how to measure the value.   Unleashing automation solutions to do what they do best may make or break a company’s IT strategy over the next few quarters as those cloud journeys begin.

The webinar, IT Automation Unplugged, a panel discussion moderated by Glenn O’Donnell of Forrester will indeed be a cool event to listen in to.  Not only has Glenn followed this space for many years but he also has some really insightful perspectives on the Journey to Cloud.  This webinar has the potential to highlight some really pointed dialog between myself and Brad Adams of rPath, Nand Mulchandani of ScaleXtreme, and Luke Kanies of Puppetlabs.  I bet the sparks might fly as we trade our perspectives on the huge demand for private and public clouds and need for enterprises to show value quickly.

This brings me to a great phrase I heard this week from one of our customers.  It was used in the context of their employees using their company’s private cloud.   It was “High Governance”.  It was seriously lacking in their current solution which highly leveraged their virtualization vendor’s software.  I probed them on what they meant by “High Governance”.  It was mostly around ensuring that individuals that provision services would get  access to only the services, cloud data center locations, and specific providers that they are entitled to.   While this is not a new concept, the element that grabbed my attention was that IT shops have a strong need for different sourcing strategies based upon end user role, organization,  location, and any number of policy settings in their Active Directory or LDAP.

“High Governance” means ensuring that your cloud users get ONLY what they are entitled to in your IT policy.   No more generic UIs for generic users or uber UIs for unknown hypothetical users.  The cloud is now a strongly governed personal experience, what a novel concept.

I wonder what the panel will think about this.  Please attend if you get a chance.

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Social Media Can Accelerate the Social Good

Recently, I participated in a conversation with our LinkedIn community on GETideas.org. The crux of the discussion was labels–should there be a universal taxonomy for terms such as Global Education, and would trying to foster global adoption of such terms speed up the transformation of the societal challenges we face today? It got me thinking about all sorts of terms that pop into our language stream. One day you’re talking about the “inequalities of the distribution of wealth and the effects of taxation on global markets;” the next day you’re texting an associate and summing up your thought stream with the word “Occupy”.

In my preparation for a panel discussion called Why enterprise Social Media Loves Social Good?, I poked around online to see if there was any consistency in the meaning for the term “social good”. Almost all the discussions and posts I found connected “social good” directly to its use within the business community. While businesses vary in their approaches to social good, this definition seems to be a common one: “A good or service that benefits the largest number of people in the largest possible way. Some classic examples of social goods are clean air, clean water and literacy; in addition, many economic proponents include access to services such as healthcare in their definition of the social or “common good”. (Source: http://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/social_good.asp) Read More »

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Manufacturing a Successful Cloud Strategy

I just finished an interview on the topic of “Cloud in Manufacturing” with a German machine-building and factory automation magazine. The interview ran an hour longer than scheduled—an indication of the publication’s interest, as well as its lingering doubts about whether cloud services truly can benefit “real manufacturing.”

We discussed an abundance of cloud-related ideas – most pertaining to obvious areas such as web presence in marketing, after-sales application hosting to make field engineers more productive, and collaboration as a service to enable partners and suppliers to work together more effectively on large projects.

The uncharted cloud territory, however, is the area that manufacturers see their “core”: the physical making of things. Can cloud play a role in supply chain management (yes, it can)? Will there be a cloud service for motion control (due to latency and determinism considerations, not yet) and for asset management and MIS applications (yes)? Read More »

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Cisco’s 2011 Corporate Social Responsibility Report

Today, we released Cisco’s 2011 Corporate Social Responsibility Report. It’s our seventh and it covers our CSR efforts in the areas of governance and ethics, value chain, our people, society, and the environment.

Since the founding of our longest-running CSR program, the Cisco Networking Academy in 1997, our efforts have been authentically grown from the inside out with enthusiastic support from our employees. We believe technology is a powerful tool that can not only help our customers thrive, but bring people together to transform lives, build communities and preserve the environment.

Read More »

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Strong Businesses are Built on Solid Recordkeeping

We are proud to announce that Cisco received the 2011 Cobalt Award for Excellence in Records and Information Management, given by ARMA International on October 17, 2011.

Before you stifle a yawn, consider this: Sound records and information management means that employees up and down the corporate ladder follow consistent policies and procedures. This translates into strict compliance with laws and regulations and contributes to overall organizational success. And it gives shareholders, customers, regulators, and employees confidence. Read More »

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